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Remove Sandbed?

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esmith

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After reading through alot of info and fighting cyano for over a month now, I am convinced that the only way to start winning this battle is to remove my DSB. The refugium packed full of macro isn't helping, and I also need a larger skimmer (CPR BakPak just sucks!) this isn't helping much either.

What would be a good skimmer to get for a 30 gallon tank with 20 gallon refugium...I am planning on upgrading to a larger tank in the future and would rather not buy two skimmers so would it be alright to run something that was oversized for my current setup?

Is this a wise decision (removing the DSB)?

Will many things die if I do this (removing the DSB)?

Anyone else have any ideas/concerns about removing the DSB, I know many of you have done this and lost some things. The tank is only stocked with LPS, polyps, misc mushrooms, fish & anemone.

Thanks,

Eliyah
 
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NaH2O

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What you can do is drain your water into some type of containers, putting your live rock one container, and place your live stock in yet another. Be sure to have some new make up water on hand, as well. Take out the sand - discard. Rinse out the tank and restock. Seeing as you have a 30 gallon, I would also keep an eye on your water parameters at first, if you decide to remove the DSB. It will take a little bit for your LR to make up for the loss of denitrification that the SB performed. Hope this helps. If you decide to go about it, let us know your steps, and how they are working for you. What do you think?
 

esmith

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Sounds good to me, thank Nikki. That is what I was planning...using one container for LS and one for rock, I just wasn't too sure how much stress this would cause the inhabitants of my tank.

So what you are saying is that I may have a buildup of detritis since I won't have the sand to help out with the removal of it? That makes sense to me, I would assume that I would just have to siphon it out more frequently.

I also wouldn't mind hearing what others have experienced, and it looks like Chuck has already started this thread.

Thanks,

Eliyah
 

NaH2O

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For those looking for a thread on this topic: Sandbed Removal - Complete Heavy Graphics

Eliyah, the sandbed is performing some denitrification functions, and by removing it you will lose some of that ability. Until your tank has a chance to make up for the loss, you may start a mini-cycle, so try and keep as much of the detritus build-up to a minimum as you can. Check out the thread I linked above.
 

esmith

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Nikki, I actually read this thread some months back when I found this site, but brushing up on it again was helpful.

Still not sure what is the right path to take, seems as though I need to get some new critters added to my SB to keep it healthy. I may try this route out for a while because I will be moving in 2 months when my Condo finishes getting built, and would rather do the removal of the SB (if I have to) during this time...less stress on the inhabitants doing two major overhauls in 2 months.

What about using chemicals to help remove the cyano that I have now, any thoughts on this? I know that this will only be a temperary fix, as I still need to remove the source of all the waste.

I keep testing my water parameters and the phosphates are at ~.25ppm, with 0 nitrates (both of these were extremely high about 2 months ago with Nitrate at 5-10ppm and phos. at 1.0 and I didn't have any cyano then) and Ca ~425, Alk ~7.0 DKH, PH ~8.2-8.3, so I am at a loss for the source of all my problems. Any ideas anyone?

Eliyah
 

mojoreef

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Hey Eliyah, removing the dsb should be the last alturnative. I would suggest that anyone that has one leave it in until its use as a sink has expired. On the phosphates that is easy to figure out, we just have to do some testing. we know what it is in the water, so lets test some other areas, Take a water sample from about 1/2 an inch deep in the DSB, then one from right up against a rock, test your make up water, and finally do a test on the food you are dumping in. List all the figures and we will go from thier. Right now you may want to get a Phosphate sponge going to help remove what is in the water column. Right now its in inorganic form and easy to remove, so do that to.


MIke
 

NaH2O

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Moved this portion of the Basic Refugium Maintenance thread, since we were beginning to start a very good discussion on a different topic
 

esmith

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Mike:

I'm going to test the water down in the sand now and the food (one thing about the food is that I rinse this thuroughly in RO water in a small net once it defrosts, shouldn't this remove most of the phostphates?--I am feeding frozen Hikari Mysis and Hikari Krill, supplemented with some Formula 1 occasionally) as I have tested the tank water and the phosphates are < 0.1, nitrates == 0, PH is somewhere between 8.3 - 8.6 :( (any ideas why this would be way up, I tested 3 times to be sure it wasn't human error) , Alk == 5.92 DKH, Calcium has dropped to ~305

[EDIT]
Ok, now I really feel stupid...I re-tested the PH and it came out just below 8.3 so I obviously must have done something wrong three times in a row :oops:


Eliyah
 
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jazznreef

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i had a dsb that wasnt working to my animal's liking and causing lots of varied problems. about 3 months ago we moved into a house and i took the opportunity to remove all the sand in the process. this worked out wonderfully for the animals. they dialed right in after a few days. basically, i took out 1/2-2/3 water, animals, and rock in that order. then i ripped all the remaining stuff out, the sand and other buildup and remaining 1/3 of the water. just chucked it all out. then did my move and put in some fresh water. poof, dialed in tank again ! i would definately wait until you move so i agree there. but, getting rid of dsb doesnt have to screw up your tank in the process. hope these are words of encouragement help your decision.
 

esmith

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Mike & Nikki, here's the verdict: (all testing done with Salifert Test kits)
  • 1/2" into the sand yields a reading of 1.0 - 1.25
  • Against the rock yields a reading of 0.1 or less
  • Make up water has 0
  • Water out of the RO system has 0
  • I'm waiting for the food to thaw so I can test this.

What do you think the next plan of action is? In the meantime I am planning on doing a water change would this be ok?

Thanks,

Eliyah
 
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mojoreef

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Well the testing tells the story. the highest concetration is 9 times out of 10 the source of the P. What the tests are telling us is the following. with a reading of inorganic P (which is what your are testing for) this means that the organic form of P is saturated and can not bind up anymore. Showing a reading of 1 to 1.25 in the sand and a reading of .25 in the water column is showing that because the organic phosphates are saturated in the bed they are now leaching into the water.
The drop in nitrates from earlier testing is showing that you have caught up with bacterial populations that are reducing Nitrates.
Bottom line, you have alot of P in your sand. Probibly associated with organics or detritus. regardless the situation wont do. since you are moving in just a couple of months I would not do anything at this moment. You could slightly stir the top 3/4 inch of sand and try to get some of the organics in to the water where you could syphon them out. this might give you a bit of a break on the cyano battle for the moment.
At the point of move, you have a few alturnatives. you can take out the sand and give it a good scrub and cleaning and then return it to the tank to once again have a dsb, if so make sure you seed the sand with some live sand (maybe some sand saved from your existing batch), make sure that you seed this new bed with the proper dsb type critters, a varity of worms, and so on available at one of the online retailers, that should be restocked at least twice a year.
If you choose not to go the dsb route, I would suggest you get your butt in the plumbing design forum and put a plumbing design together that will help you remove the detritus/waste/food prior to it decomposing in your tank.

hope it helps

Mike
 

esmith

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Thanks Mike, I have already been working a design on paper, just need to transfer it into CAD.

In the long run it seems that re-designing the plumbing is going to be the most efficient route to aleaviating this type of situation in the future. This sand bed is only 6 months old...isn't this a little young to have this happening?


I'll also go ahead and siphon through the upper area of the sand, any break from the 3days - weekly turkey basting of cyano is extremely welcome.

Eliyah
 

mojoreef

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Yep it does seem a little young for sur. alot of it has to do with if you had the bed setup up correctly, what kind of feeding you do, where the sand is from. and husbandry in general. Having said that a DSB cant deal with P no matter, unless harvesting cyano/hair (as the good Dr says) is your cup of tea.
Eliyah after your move you still have the choice to go dsb again (maybe better equipted this time). its all up to you

Mike
 

esmith

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Mike you are completely right about being more equiped!!! When I started this hobby I was given a setup that was already established, but was in the process of crashing. I thought (because a friend I know had a 125 setup with a DSB and swore by it, although he hadn't done much research about it on his own) that this was the best route; it wasn't until after I had the tank setup at home that I found out you're actually suposed to seed the bed with livestock. Sure wish I knew what I did now, especially about this site and all of the extremely knowledgable people, before I decided to take on this hobby.

Another question...does it matter what size sand you are using??? I have ~.5mm argonite throughout, mainly because I didn't know where to go to get the sand when I set it up, and this was all that Aquarium Concepts had in stock when I bought it. I would have much rather went with sugar size, but have read that a mixture of both is the way to go.

Eliyah
 

mojoreef

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Thier have been so many changes and modification to a DSB that is pretty tough to figure out exactly what the concept is these days. But I will give you the basic premiss on how it works.
The soncept is to use the finer grade sand, the finer the grade of sand the more surface area thier is for bacteria. Also the finer the more well it packs and thus makes the lower section of it anaeobic (lack of oxygen). But personally the sand you have should be fine. The way the bed works is that in the upper zone that is well oxygenated (areobic) you will promote the population of nitrifing bacteria. these are the bacteria that process ammonia to nitrite and then to nitrate. This area will also have populations of lerger life forms such as snails, worms, pods and other simular type bugs. The role they play for the most part is to stir the sand in this zone allowing it to stay oxygenated. They also process food and waste particles to smaller peices. Everything below this zone is called the anaerobic zone, it is void of oxygen for the most part and accomedates a different type of bacteria that processes nitrate, from nitrate to nitrogen gas, which is then off gassed. A big player in this game is a type of worm. It travels between the areobbic zone and then holds it breathe for lon periods as it travels down to the anaerobic zone. this traveling brings the nitrates from the aerobic zone to the anaerobic zone bacteria, this traveling also allows for the migration of the gas being offed. Problems that can occur here is with the lack of these worms, thier is no transmission between the two zones. Also if thier is the presence of ammonia, it will not allow or denitrification. This is the basic concept, the cons are basically two fold. The process outlined above work only for products that are nitrogen based, so if you are putting stuff in the tank that is not nitrogen based it is not going anywhere, so it sinks. that along with all the things that shed and die in the bed. this leads to the eventual increasing of the ananerobic zone and the decrease of the areobic zone. so eventually the bed will cease to function as a filtration even for nitrogen. the second problem is that the DSB has no ability to deal with Phosphates. This will lead to a Phosphate cycle between algea and critter. The sand you use to make up your dsb is saturated with phosphates prior to even coming out of the bag. But it is locked up and wont pose an immediate problem. but what happens is that with the formation of an anaerobic zone, the PH in those areas will lower, as it lowers it frees up all the P that was once bound into the sand, this P will raise and be taken in by bacteria, resulting in the rapid rise in thier population. Once the food source begins to be exhausted the bacteria begin to die off, as this happens algae (usually hair or cyano) begin to take advantage of the new food source (sound familar????) thus it will begin to bloom. again once the food runs out the alge will begin to die off as it does the bacteria once again jump onto the rtting algae and feed, thier populations grow and the cycle begins all over again. Now if you add to this all the P we put into our tanks via feeding, additives, waste and so on this P cycle gets bigger and bigger unitl its out of hand. It is this that usually makes reefers tear down thier tanks and not the first problem.
You can add all the snails and crabs and worms you want but the problem is that what ever they eat or take up does not export from the tank, it stays their until they die and then once again joins in the P cycle. the same applies for algea type scrubbers or calurpa refugiums. yea they will uptake P and nitrogen and you can havest them (thus exporting) but they do so only by removing what ever Inorganic Phosphate is in the water column, they dont touch the P that is in the sand and they cannot compete with cyano or hair algae when it comes to uptake. Dr Ron and other experts state that the concept is that the harvesting od cyano and hair from the DSB surface is the method for exporting that P, but I personally find harvesting cyano to be a bit unattractive.
OK on the BB concept, the idea is to export the food/waste/detritus prior to it being reduced (rotting) thus skipping all the processes listed above (pros and cons). als we have LR in our tanks that do everything that sand does but at a samller rate. the difference in the LR is that it has no bottom, so through bacterial action (tugor) the detritus is actually pushed out of the rock, thus not allowing for the eventual filling up.

Sorry for the long post, but hopefully it gives you and Idea of all your alturnatives


Mike
 

mojoreef

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LOL Steve, thank God the metals came up or it would have out lived him, rofl.....ooops thiers another log


Mike
 

Elmo18

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I'm keeping my DSB.....till i see something bad :rolleyes:

Its working so far, I dont want to change anything right now because its pretty stable.

- Ilham
 
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